Bua Thai Cuisine, 450 W. First St. (at Indian Hill), Claremont; open daily.
Meeting a friend for dinner recently at Bua Thai, I snapped an exterior photo and, during our meal, took a photo of my dish, thinking cleverly that I would add them to an old, pre-photo blog post here to spice it up. But it turned out my memory had deceived me, and I’d only mentioned Bua here in passing rather than having made it a Restaurant of the Week.
Well, I’ve got the photos now, so why not write a post? Bua opened in 2007 as part of the Village expansion. It’s in a strip of shops fronting the parking garage, which at the time seemed like a novel use of space that would otherwise be concrete pillars and more cars.
I’ve eaten at Bua Thai four or five times, and to be honest, I’ve never been particularly excited about it, as the food is only so-so. (A friend once called it “Thai food for people who don’t like Thai food.”) So-so would describe a lot of places in the Village, though, and it ought to be said that the service at Bua is reliable and the ambiance stylishly modern and inviting.
In other words, you could get better Thai food by driving south on Indian Hill to Pomona’s Mix Bowl and Sanamluang, but if you want somewhere to eat before or after a movie at the Laemmle a block away, and you don’t want to move your car, there are certainly worse places than Bua.
This visit I had stir-fried ginger pork ($8.50) and my friend had Thai barbecued chicken ($8), a half-bird. I wish I’d taken a photo, because it looked delicious. Mine was comforting and I took half home.
Service was quiet and unobtrusive. A patio, well-screened by plants, looks inviting, and the restaurant has lots of windows. Most offer views of First, but one on the east side shows you the parking garage’s elevator. I guess you could people-watch, although you’d be better off doing so from the patio or from a window seat along First.